The Egyptian Cartouche Cards
Cartouche is a French word which means oblong box and refers to the shape found around the images of important priests discovered in some ancient Egyptian temples. Murry Hope, an English lady and practitioner of Egyptian magic, invented the Cartouche system in 1983. She and Jed Collard formed Ostaris Publications and published the first 3,000 decks that same year. In 1984, Collard sent some sample cards to St. Martin’s Press and they immediately responded with an offer for the worldwide rights to print and distribute them, but wanted Hope to expand the small instruction booklet into a large book which she did. St. Martin’s Press then doubled the size of the cards and produced the expanded booklet in a hardback format as “The Way of Cartouche.”
DESCRIPTION OF CARTOUCHE
The Cartouche deck comprises twenty five cards which each have a number and an image. Those cards which portray a god, goddess or element have in addition a set of hieroglyphics which describe that image and encapsulate its power. The image on each card may have a fixed or mobile nature. For example, Nephthys is a goddess shown on card number seven. She is represented by an image of a cup or container and the ka hieroglyphic (representing the personal life force) appears in the top right hand corner of the card. As Nephthys means psychic receptivity and that which I slightly obscure and fluid she consequently has a mobile nature.
Cartouche card meanings correspond with those of the Major Arcanum of the conventional Tarot pack. For example, Buckle of Isis is the equivalent of The Empress. There are also correspondences with the Runes (there are commonly twenty five Runes ).
Cartouche cards may be used for divination, magical work or meditation.
Divination is the art and science of predicting a course of events. In her book “The Way of Cartouche” Murry Hope outlines two basic methods to use in Cartouche divination:- The Horoscope Method and The Pentagram Method. The former method is also used by Tarot readers and entails asking the querent to shuffle the cards and cut them into three piles which are then picked up by the reader and laid out in an anti-clockwise fashion so that twelve consecutive cards form a circle. In the centre of this circle a thirteenth card is placed. The first twelve cards each correspond with a house of the Zodiac while the thirteenth card gives the tone or atmosphere of the reading. The latter method involves shuffling and cutting the cards as before but this time they are laid out in the form of a five-pointed star or pentagram. The first card represents the situation at hand, the second, considerations for the querent, the third, “on the other hand” considerations, the fourth, what the querent should do and the fifth, the final outcome.
A popular definition of magic is “The art and science of making changes in conformity with the will”. Magical uses of the cards might include protection, attracting a partner or making more money. Murry Hope suggests in “The Way of Cartouche” that the cards may be used as talismans and that, for example, by simply carrying one of the cards of protection such as Anubis you will be protected from dangers both seen and unseen. one of the meanings of this card is protection at all levels). This seems at first rather simplistic. There is no mention of invoking the power of a card and then using it to realise a magical intention. It seems that the owner is meant to take it on faith that the cards will work virtually independently of them. On the other hand if Hope devised the Cartouche cards with the ritual intention of making the cards work independently of the knowledge of the owner then it is possible they will work in this manner. Hope further suggests in “The Way of Cartouche” that the cards must never be used for evil purposes because she has designed them so that the evil will rebound on the person sending it. Again, this may be the case but it is open to conjecture.
Meditation on the Cartouche symbols can be rewarding if the type of meditation practiced is contemplative meditation. Once the meanings of the symbols are internalized and the myths belonging to the various gods and goddesses are known there will arise in the mediator’s mind many images, intuitions, and feelings, all of which will convey new insights into the nature of the Cartouche cards.